Grassley ‘incensed’ by Sessions criticism of proposed sentencing reform legislation

Grassley ‘incensed’ by Sessions criticism of proposed sentencing reform legislation
© Greg Nash

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOn The Money: Inside the Mueller report | Cain undeterred in push for Fed seat | Analysis finds modest boost to economy from new NAFTA | White House says deal will give auto sector B boost The 7 most interesting nuggets from the Mueller report Government report says new NAFTA would have minimal impact on economy MORE (R-Iowa) on Wednesday torched Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump poised to roll back transgender health protections Trump claims Mueller didn't speak to those 'closest' to him And the winner of the Robert Mueller Sweepstakes is — Vladimir Putin MORE for his “attempt to undermine” a bipartisan drug sentencing reform bill. 

“Incensed by Sessions letter An attempt to undermine Grassley/Durbin/Lee BIPARTISAN criminal justice reforms This bill deserves thoughtful consideration b4 my cmte. AGs execute laws CONGRESS WRITES THEM!” Grassley tweeted.

In a letter sent to Grassley on Wednesday, Sessions wrote that legislation proposed by Grassley and Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDurbin calls Mueller report findings on Trump team 'troubling' Congress opens door to fraught immigration talks McConnell: 'Past time' for immigration-border security deal MORE (Ill.) would be a “grave error” and urged the Senate to reconsider the bill.

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The attorney general said the bill weakens the punishments for criminals and risks allowing the “very worst criminals” back into society by allowing judges to retroactively reduce sentences.

The legislation, reintroduced last year after previously failing in the Senate, would reduce mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders and end the mandatory three strikes rule that calls for repeat offenders to be sentenced to life in prison.

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGOP senator compares Mueller report's obstruction findings to 'Pinocchio' in 'Shrek 3' Dems sound alarm over top DOJ nominee Restore Pell Grant eligibility to people in prison MORE (R-Utah) has also indicated support.

Grassley says the legislation would allow "nonviolent offenders with minimal criminal histories a better chance to become productive members of society."

Sessions, who has staked out his attorney general legacy as being tough on crime, argued the bill makes it easier for "serious drug traffickers" to re-enter society.

“The bill weakens penalties for repeat, serious drug traffickers, including those who used a gun and those with significant criminal histories, and would reduce the sentences of and potentially allow for the early release of many dangerous felons in prison now, including heroin traffickers, firearms felons, and those who are members of violent drug cartels and gangs like MS-13,” Session wrote.

“Passing this legislation to further reduce sentences for drug traffickers in the midst of the worst drug crisis in our nation’s history would make it more difficult to achieve our goals and have potentially dire consequences,” he said.